CDC Report Shows Drownings Have Increased; Oak Island Water Rescue Reacts | Old North State Wealth News
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CDC report shows drownings have increased; Oak Island Water Rescue reacts

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OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY/CBS) — The nationwide surge in accidental drowning deaths early during the COVID-19 pandemic was disproportionately worse for Black people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday — a finding in line with longstanding disparities.

Compared to 2019, drowning rates increased among Black people by 22.2% in 2020 and 28.3% in 2021. Drowning rates were the worst overall for Black people as well as American Indian and Alaska Native people in those first two years.

In 2022, the largest increase was in Hispanic people. For them, drowning deaths that year climbed 24.8% above levels seen in 2019 before the pandemic.

“The CDC report: I think it highlighted numerous things,” said Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Carl Mauney. “I think the inability to swim; the fact that drowning is the number one cause for accidental death for children 1 to 4; and what they really showed was how important swim lessons are and the fact that over 55% could not swim.”

Mauney also stresses the importance of wearing a life jacket near water if you cannot swim. He says you should always wear a life jacket — regardless of how well you swim — when you’re on a boat or participating in water sports.

Overall, the CDC blames around 4,000 deaths each year on accidental drowning. Health officials and experts previously warned of an uptick in drowning deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the highest rates among young children under five years old.

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